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Northrop Grumman network selected for US Army evaluation

11th November 2011 - 14:48 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


A wireless network developed by Northrop Grumman has been selected by the US Army to participate in the second Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), underway at White Sands Missile Range.

According to a company statement issued 10 November 2011, their Advanced Meshnet Technology (AMT) solution uses popular hand-held devices to give soldier situational awareness and battle command capabilities.

The company said:‘AMT forms a very high-speed network that provides enhanced situational awareness, communications and command and control capabilities to dismounted soldiers, commander's vehicles and company-level command posts at the last tactical mile. It works in conjunction with FBCB2 (Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below), a key situational awareness and command-and-control system developed by Northrop Grumman and used by US and coalition forces.’

According to Northrop Grumman more than 100,000 FBCB2 systems have been deployed worldwide, and the next-generation, software-enhanced version of FBCB2, FBCB2 Joint Capabilities Release (JCR), began fielding to operational units in January 2011. The AMT adds to this by extending the network to the edge, ‘down to the dismounted soldier in the fight’, with a reliable, secure and interoperable design making it a ‘true mission command enabler’.

In developing AMT, Northrop Grumman and its teammates adapted commercial technologies for tactical environments. Mobile ad hoc networks, or MANETs, like AMT can be quickly deployed, because any device, piece of equipment or platform on the Meshnet can serve as a node for accessing information; and soldiers will use 'battle smart' Android phones that support full-motion video, text-based chat, file transfer protocol and voice over Internet protocol and provide a complete platoon and company headquarters network for dismounted soldiers down to the rifleman level.

The company said,‘Connected in this MANET through AMT, every soldier, command post and vehicle becomes a high bandwidth node. AMT also interfaces with legacy networks, including the Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-117G tactical radio system, Warfighter Information Network – Tactical, Blue Force Tracking and Joint Tactical Radio System, which allows C2 and situational awareness messages to be exchanged in variable message format. AMT handsets can also operate on current 3G cellular networks and are adaptable for future 4G LTE systems. This multinet capability means the system can operate in any environment including fixed forward operating bases or while conducting mobile operations outside the range of a fixed infrastructure.’

The October-November NIE is one of a series of semiannual evaluations designed to rapidly advance the Army's tactical networks.

The Shephard News Team


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